Posts tagged ‘raybradbury’

May 6th, 2011

Learn from the Classics

by Madeleine Rex

We’ve read some very well-known books in my English class this year (many of which I’d already read). We began the year with Of Mice and Men, a book I’m a huge fan of. However, it wasn’t until I dug into it for a second time with the aid of my fabulous (or “rad” as one of my other teachers described her) English teacher that I realized just how spectacularly detailed Of Mice and Men is. There’s something that writers like Steinbeck have managed to do with word choice that gives their words layer upon layer of meaning.

There’s a passage in which Steinbeck describes Lennie’s and George’s physical features, such as the way they walk and the angles of their face. It’s mystifying. I’d never noticed before reading it in class that Steinbeck manages to write the sentences in a way that reflects the image he’s trying to create. The words he uses to describe George’s skinniness are, well, skinny words, and vice versa for Lennie.

Ray Bradbury accomplishes something similar in many parts of Fahrenheit 451. When we’d discuss the intricacies of Bradbury’s or Steinbeck’s word choice, I was almost exhausted by the very thought of putting that much consideration into the words I choose. Certainly, diction’s important to me and something I love to deal with, but I can hardly imagine creating something so complex. It’s far more fun as a reader to untangle the meanings of specific paragraphs or individual sentences of other people’s books.

In Les Edgerton’s Hooked: Write fiction that grabs readers at page one and never lets them go, he says:

…every word needs to count and to represent much more than the few syllables it takes to utter.

Some writers have truly taken that advice to heart and created magic. I aspire to be half as brilliant before I die. Leaning to play with words and create illustrious images is a process I’ve yet to master and likely never will. But isn’t it fabulous to read a paragraph in a book and simply gape at it? Stare at it for ten seconds, and then reread? I love it when I come across something so magnificent that I wish I could tattoo it on my mind and carry it around with me as a constant reminder of what words can accomplish.

Someday, I want to make someone feel that way. Don’t you? Let’s look to the masters. Reread those books you were forced through in high school because there’s a pretty decent chance you’ll learn more the second time around. Don’t analyze. Analysis is too cold. Savor. Enjoy.

P.S. I just got my 100th follower! Thanks, Vy! There’s a giveaway coming up soon! Goodness knows you guys deserve it for putting up with my irregular posts!

May 7th, 2010

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Fahrenheit 451

Author: Ray Bradbury

Published: 1953

Number of Pages: 179

Rating: 4/5

Quote:

There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”

Review:

I was astounded by this book. It gave my so much to ponder and wonder at. The very idea of a world where books are disgraceful is mind-boggling in and of itself. Could it be that these things that writers toil over and readers love and hate ardently, both emotions being enjoyable in this case, could be so feared, so despised that we would feel the need to eliminate them? To chase down every last page and burn it to a crisp. I found the philosophy behind such a decision quite fascinating.

Guy Montag is a fireman. He and his co-workers work diligently to set fire to entire homes that hold books, any type of book. Non-fiction and fiction alike. He finds pleasure in watching the snowflakes of pages fly into the air on a rampage and flutter slowly and languidly to the ground as the words die.

He’s also satisfied with the half-life he lives in a city and world where happiness is forced upon people. Everything is normal until he runs into Clarisse, a 17-year-old girl who is crazy. She has ideas and thoughts that others wouldn’t consider dreaming or thinking of. She sparks Montag’s rebellious fire. Guy soon lusts after the truth, after a world that can think on its own.

The world Montag has inhabited all his life, is, in my opinion, one of the most screwed up and loopy worlds imaginable. The very concept of everyone “being happy” when so few can think seems illogical. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy thinking. I enjoy the occasional argument. I enjoy knowing the full story, learning, and siphoning more and more knowledge. Really, the dystopian world’s main problem is that it has virtually eliminated real growth. In addition, it has killed off all opposition. Anything that could cause unhappiness is rejected. Books, movies, and other material that could possibly cause someone to think and worry, or simply feel the need to fight back, is taken care of.

Ray Bradbury’s style kept me reading,vehemently stuffing the words into my eyeballs. I loved his clear, strong, and ever-present voice. I’m eager to read Something Wicked this Way Comes, another one of his novels. The clarity of his writing spoke of truth in a remarkable way. I can easily imagine being convinced by anything he said.

I loved the idea of fighting for the books, the knowledge, and preserving them. You cannot help but admire people who are willing to give up much and enjoy so little in order to ensure that the people of the next generations would not go without the necessities of history and the pleasure of reading.

I read Fahrenheit 451 for book club this month. The girls are meeting today to discuss it, and although I know that some of them found the book “boring” (really?!), I’m certain that a very gripping discussion will be held. The topic of the book was so controversial and extremely odd that differing opinions will abound.

This book is one that a majority of the world has read. Many high schools consider it required reading. If, however, you have not read it, I recommend picking it up. You can find it anywhere. A book about the preservation of books should never go out of print.

Hallelujah for books!